Tension eases on university checks

Athens University rector Theodoros Fortsakis (photo) attempted on Wednesday to defuse a brewing row over his decision to block anyone apart from students, academics, administrative staff and invited guests from entering the institution.

Fortsakis held talks with about 50 students at his office and invited them to send representatives to attend a senate meeting on October 30. The rector said that the university is willing to discuss students’ concerns about the security measure but would not permit “mobs” to hijack the debate.

“The rector’s office is always open to dialogue but this requires calm and politeness,” he said. “Another precondition is that there are a limited number of representatives from all sides. We expect student unions to take part through representatives and without violence or swearing. We are prepared to discuss the problems under the condition that this will happen within democratic parameters.”

Some students are opposed to identity checks as they believe that it compromises the principle of free assembly and debate established at Greek universities after the collapse of the junta in 1974. Administrative employees have also said they are against the measure, arguing that it is demeaning for them to go through ID checks to enter their workplace.

Fortsakis also met on Wednesday with representatives of the administrative staff and suggested that a method may be found that would mean visitors rather than employees would face checks. Employee representative Zacharias Trigazis suggested that a compromise could be found.

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